Canada’s Bianca Andreescu failed to defeat China’s Qinwen Zheng in the third round of Thursday’s National Bank Open in Toronto, who lost in straight sets 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 after a long three-hour battle.
• Also read: National Bank Open: Andreescu weeps from the bottom of his heart
• Also read: National Bank Open: Coco Gauff wins a very long fight
• Also read: National Bank Open: Beatriz Haddad Maia eliminates the favorite
The only 19-year-old Zheng not only had to assert herself against her opponent of the day, but also fight against a particularly noisy crowd for her rival.
“It was a really tough game and the crowd here is really excited. I haven’t gotten used to it that much yet, but it’s good because there’s even more energy as a player, the winner launched in an on-pitch interview after the game. Thank you, whether you encourage me or not, thank you very much.”
The two athletes went neck and neck in the opening two sets, with Zheng, ranked 51st in the world, notching three breaks of serve in the first set, the most important of which was in game 12 when she was already leading 6-5.
Andreescu, ranked 53 in the world who broke her opponent twice in the first set, pulled himself together well in the second and played practically the same trick as her opponent in the previous set, breaking her balls in the 11th game and easily winning his service, to force hold of a last set.
The Canadian showed all her strength of character in the third round as well, breaking her opponent in game five when she herself had just lost serve in the previous game. However, it was the beginning of the end for the crowd favorite who failed to win a game after that.
A young prodigy
The maple leaf representative left the center court to hearty applause, while the Chinese picked up her squad for her quarter-final duel against the Czech Karolina Pliskova, world 14th, on Friday.
Speaking of the winner of the day, she will continue her rise to the highest echelons of women’s tennis, making her career-first appearance in the quarter-finals of a WTA 1000 tournament.
“I’ll try to do my best,” she said shyly to the Toronto crowd.
A real revelation in 2022, the Chinese has climbed several hundred spots annually since 2018, the year she finished the campaign at number 933.
As recently as 2019, before the pandemic, she was playing tournaments among juniors. Despite everything, she finished the 2021 season in 143rd place and excelled on the biggest stages of tennis in 2022, reaching the second round at the Australian Open, fourth round at Roland-Garros and then third round in Wimbledon advanced.
Her goal, according to the WTA website, is to finish in the top 30 in 2022, a goal she’s sure to get closer to in the next ranking update.